Monday, June 29, 2009

I thought these things only came in 3's?

First it was Ed McMahon. Pretty sad, but he was 86 and in failing health.

Then it was Farrah Fawcett. Again, sad, but she'd been fighting cancer for some time.

Then it was Michael Jackson. Sad, I guess, but hasn't he really been dead for about 20 years now?

But the kicker, the WTF moment of "celebrity" deaths was the one that occurred over the weekend.

Billy Mays?? Huh? How is that possible?

It's amazing what TV you can get into when you are sitting up late either with an infant or awaiting the infant's eventual late-night wake-up. I became a rather fond follower of the TLC show "Pitchmen" thanks to our 14-week old.

He worked hard to get from the Pittsburgh area to the Boardwalk in AC to the mansion seen on Pitchmen.

And now? Gone.

I have to say, of the "celebrity" deaths in the last week, the death of Billy Mays actually hit the hardest.

RIP Pitchman.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Negelcted Neon Number 1

Not only do Ghost Signs/Ads fascinate me, but so do old, forgotten neon signs.

I guess it's fair to say that neon sign making may be a dying art. Without doing any research or consulting with sign makers, I will base that statement purely on the fact that I just don't see as much neon as I used to.

These faded, neon-less neon signs are sad reminders of bygone days. When I see what's left of these signs, I am struck by how time ravages everything. To think that there was a proud, beaming shop owner watching with pride as his/her sign was hoisted up and lit for the first time, beckoning people from all over to their business and then to see these mostly forgotten relics of that time, far from their glory days leaves me with a bit of melancholy.

Here's the first two that I've collected...

Woodland Avenue in SW Philly, now a west African grocery...

This first picture shows the now neon-less sign for an auto parts store. While it is nice to see that the building itself is still in use for business purposes, and not one of many boarded up hulks on Woodland Avenue, there is still a feeling of loss for what once was. I can almost see the owner of the auto parts store standing across the street, chest puffed out a bit, as he saw the (probably) red neon flicker for the first time. This was his big moment. This was his time to draw the customers in. This was his chance to pay off the loan from his in-laws and finally prove that he wasn't the screw-up they believed stole their daughter away.

Southern end of Lancaster City, not sure if the building is in use at all right now. Barely managed to get the cell phone out in time...

Mr. Rebman must have been so proud. Here was his name on the store, the first in what he hoped would be a regional, then national, chain. What did he sell? It doesn't matter. He had a plum location on the outskirts. The city folk could get in and out as well as the rural folk. He'd catch them on the way into town for a day of shopping and marvelling at the newest and best technological doodads for the home. He could see them now, piling out of the big station wagons, boys in uncomfortable starched shirts and suits, Sunday-only shoes pinching all of their toes. Girls in dresses and gloves, clutching their little purses tight, protecting the small fortune in dimes and nickles they'd spend in the candy department. Moms excited to maybe one-up the Smiths across the way; Dads exhausted from working all week on the farm, looking forward to maybe sneaking one at that little taproom just up the block...

The PECO Building Crown Lights are Proceeding Nicely

More cell phone shots whilst driving down the rain...

The whole thing is supposed to be done for July 4th. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Definitive 1000

We are going to be counting down the Definitive 1000 things. Why are they Definitive? Because The Friendly Friends have deemed them as such.

962 - Yak Loin

Good to keep the yang up.

That is all.

Hannibal Lechter Would Be Proud

Thanks for inviting me over for dinner. That's a fine looking roast you got there. I'm a big pot roast fan. Potatoes, carrots, onions all in the gravy with the beef. That's some good eats right there. Oh how I love to smoosh up the potatoes with the onion and drown it in au jus.

What? You've given up beef? Oh, ok. Well, whatever floats your boat. So then what are we having? I mean, that really looks like beef. Is it for someone else?

What is it? Mutton? That color, that marbling. You're not a vegetarian so don't try and tell me that's tofu.

Let me see that....

So that explains the fava beans in the pot and nice bottle of Chianti on the table...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's the Opposite of a Ghost Sign/Ad?

It would definitely include shiny new LED lights and it would obviously be on a building.

Well, after a life spent seeing the top of the PECO Building in Philly looking a lot like this:

I was very happy to hear that the old fashioned scrolling light bulb sign would be replaced with LEDS. Well, then imagine my delight when I saw the top look like this the other day during an otherwise hellish commute home:

I know these aren't the best, but I was using my cellphone and trying not to run into anyone. Plus anyone who is familiar with this stretch of the Schuylkill "Expressway" knows I'm about to go under 30th Street...

I can't wait to see the finished product. I am a sucker for this kind of stuff.